The Stairstep Breakaway plan, also known as stair step breakaway or simply stairstep plan, is one of the oldest compensation plans still in use. Basically, it starts like an MLM Unilevel Plan where there are an unlimited number of front line positions. It has a percentage assigned to each level progressively deeper. As your team grows, there are usually group volume requirements to achieving status. Once your team grows big enough, that team will "Break Away" and you will earn a much smaller commission on the whole group instead of maxing out based on the number of levels deep you are.
The name comes from the fact that distributors will advance their rank within the company, earning a greater commission rate with each rank, until they reach a certain point. Then they “break away” from their upline and are no longer part of their upline organization. Upon breaking away, a distributor becomes entitled to earn even greater commissions.